Facebook Fan Page Timelines: Are You Ready To Tell Your Story?

When Facebook announced some revolutionary changes to be implemented on business pages a few weeks ago, I made a post where I was more concerned with the negative effects of the removal of the default tab! If you’ve read that post you’d understand that I’m one of those who is not really happy with the introduction of timelines in Facebook fan pages.

Of course, I’m not still happy with the changes but, as the old saying goes, the only thing that is constant in life is change!

And so, for the past few weeks I’ve been taking a critical look at what others are doing with these new changes. So far, I must say that as usual the business community is living up to expectation in this wise as many have really come up with creative ways of using the page timelines to their benefit.

I hope to write about some of these creative ideas sometime very soon but for now I want to remind you that Facebook will officially implement timelines on all fan pages on March 30, 2012 which is just a few hours from now! So, if you have not implemented timelines on your Facebook fan page, there is no better time than NOW!

I personally don’t know how your fan page will look like once it is “defaulted” to the new changes by Facebook. But definitely, your page is going to look bland without some input from you.

Like I said, I’ve been studying the situation for the past weeks and it will interest you to know that many businesses are already taking advantage of the new changes. I’m really surprised that many, unlike me, believe that the introduction of timelines is the best thing that has ever happened to Facebook pages – different strokes for different people you’d say! 🙂

Anyway, it is clear that Facebook now want you to tell your stories (your updates are now called stories!) on your business pages. You know social media has given businesses a voice with which to communicate with their clients and prospects so it is not a mistake that Facebook is giving you timelines to tell your story!

I do hope that make some sense, does it?

So, not minding on what divide you stand, whether you are not in agreement with the new changes or you hail it as the best thing to happen to social media this 2012, learning to use your fan page to tell your story is one thing that will make a difference in your online business in the months to come.

A Few Ways You Can Use Timelines in Tell Your Business Story

1. The Cover Photo

This is where many businesses are really being creative with their page timelines. The cover photo which is definitely the first thing anyone coming to the business page will first see is a place where you can actually paint a picture of what your business is all about. You have about 810px X 315px of space to work with.

Some of the things you could do with the cover photo is sticking up a photograph of your office work area, photographs of your product or if you’re offering a service a virtual representation of that service.

You’ll need to be careful however, since Facebook has placed very strong restrictions on what you can include on the cover photo.  For example, you’re not expected to include things like coupons to encourage first time visitors to like your page, no calls-to-action, no discounts or special offers, no website addresses, no contact information, etc. the full details of what not to include can be found here.

I’ve expressed my anger enough on this in my previous post and like I’ve said some businesses are already being creative with this. So take a look around and grab some ideas of what you can do with your own page. I implemented the timelines a couple of weeks ago. Here is what my fan page cover photo look like:

Web Income Journal Fan Page Cover Photo!
Web Income Journal Fan Page Cover Photo!

Click here to visit the page.

2. The About Area:

As you do know, the fan page About Section used to be on the sidebar but now it has been moved to a very prominent position just below the profile picture. This means anyone coming to the page will be able to quickly know what your page, and by extension your business, is all about.

Since there is no restriction of what to include here, you can actually use your mission statement, your website URL, a tagline or a call to action asking the visitor to like your page. You simply need to be creative, direct and concise with what you put in this section. You can see what I have on my page in the graphic above.

3. Tabs and Apps:

This is one area I’m really working on as far as the WebIncomeJournal’s fan page is concerned. I’ve a couple of ideas which I hope to implement in the coming days. Of course, I see more businesses using this section more creatively in the days to come.

Like the about section, the apps are now moved from the sidebar to the top of the page and will be shown in thumbnails underneath the cover photo as tabs. You’re allowed 12 tabs in total but only 3 can be featured in addition to your photos. These all appear on the same line with the about section.

You can use the apps thumbnails to link to a few things like photos, number of fans, a custom welcome, your blog, etc. To maximize the apps section you should be creative with the thumbnails you use and the apps you feature. Since you can only feature 3 at a time (photos remain constant) it means you should put the apps you want to draw attention to here. The good thing is that swapping the apps is as easy as ABC.

To swap the position of each app, hover over the app you want to swap and then click on the pencil icon that pops up. A drop down menu will appear from where you can now choose the app you’d want to swap into that space.

4. Highlight or Star Posts

I’m really impressed with what many businesses are doing with fan page posts. If you have a page you will agree that the times really do not have much in design. However, with the use of the highlighting or “starring” of posts, a component of the timeline, you can actually draw attention to some of your very important posts.

Without any post highlighted or starred, your business page timeline will only show a range of stories published by your business, friends, and other users. But you can turn this around by starring or highlighting a post so that it expands to the entire width of your timeline. This is another simple way of putting some creativity into your fan page.

Besides, you can also pin a post to the top of your page to emphasize that post. A post pinned to the top will remain at the top of your Timeline for seven days. This is another way of your deciding on what visitors can see when they first visit your fan page.

Facebook Timelines Takeaway

For now Facebook Timelines for business pages is still very new but as more and more people get to understand it more innovative ways to use it for social media marketing will also be discovered. But for now, if you have not implemented timelines on your Facebook page then take some time off whatever you’re doing today and make sure you do it right away after reading this post.

Your Turn: I’m eager to hear your story. Post your comments below and if you have a Facebook business page, feel free to include the link in your comments. Visit the Web Income Journal’s Fan Page here and make sure you like the page. If you do let me know in your comment and I’ll definitelly reciprocate the gesture!

Facebook Fan Pages Revolutionized: Default Tabs out, Fan Page Timeline In!

If you think you’ve seen the last in the on-going rivalry between the heavy-weight social media sites, Facebook and Google, then you’re in for a surprise!

A few days ago Facebook introduced some major changes concerning Facebook fan pages. Coming a few hours before Google’s new privacy policy came into effect, shows that these two are not, in any way, ready to cede ground to the other.

As I’ve written earlier, this social media war between Google and Facebook is something that is definitely going to bring some positive thing for all of us! Who ever expected so many changes in a very short period of time? And who knows what more changes that we will be seeing in the days ahead? But one thing that is for sure is the positive impact this will have on our use of the internet both for business and personal interactions.

Facebook Fan Pages Changes: A Look into What Is New

When I first heard of the news about the new changes, I quickly took a look at this blog’s fan page and I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw.

Now, it will interest you to know that I was in the middle of redesigning the pages.  For the past 2 weeks I had been brainstorming for some very good artwork and so the first thing that surprised me was the fact that Facebook has thrown away the default tab and instead is introducing “Timelines” just as we have in Facebook profiles!

I really do not know why the default tab is being thrown away but from all indication, it appears that Facebook has something against the creative uses that many internet marketers are putting the default tab to. Seriously!

For example, here’s a graphic of what my facebook fan page looked like before the changes:

facebook fan page image

With this optin form for capturing email contacts:

fan page optin

But now, here’s a preview of what the page now look like (of course I will need to work on it again to bring it up to date!):

As you can see Facebook has given us some more work but we do expect things like this in this business from time to time and so it’s going to be some fun!

Here are the major changes

1. Cover Photo

With the default tab going Facebook now allows you to use a cover photo on your fan page. However, there are some restrictions. The cover photo may NOT contain the following:

>>> Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”.

>>> Contact information or any other information that should be in your Page’s “About” section.

>>> References to user interface elements, such as “Like” or “Share”, or any other Facebook site features.

>>> Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”.

If you want to use a cover photo, the idea size is 850px by 315px.

2. Default Landing Tabs Removed

This is one area many marketers may not find agreeable. With the ability to use HTML codes, many marketers used this tab as the “Welcome” gateway for their fan pages. Many built fanciful landing pages where they collected contact information from first time visitors and build very responsive email lists. Others simply used it to encourage first timers to “Like” the page. Unfortunately, there is no more default tab. Taking this with the restrictions placed on the cover page, it does appear that Facebook is trying to discourage, as much as possible, blatant marketing on the site. But is this really what marketers on Facebook are looking for?

3. Photos, Likes, and Apps Moved to Top of Page

Photos, apps and likes which used to be at the side of the page now take the top of the fan page. You can show up to a maximum of 12 apps at the top.  A little look at this will of course give one some ideas on how to you can draw attention to a particular app since you can decide which of the app should appear first. Marketers will have to find some creative use for this section.

4. Administrator Panel

Administrators of your fan page can now keep track of activities of the page from a new admin panel. From here the administrator can respond to writeups from people visiting your fan page and also view the latest insights about the page.

5. Fan Page Messages

One of the features of the new admin panel is that people can now contact you privately through messages. Any message sent will appear in your admin panel.

6. Ability to “Highlight” or “Pin” your favorite post to the top

I think this is another good one. Just as you can make a post “sticky” in wordpress blogs, Facebook now allows you to pin your favorite post to the top of your fan page. This is another way of drawing attention to your most important content on your fan page.

And Now, My Sincere Thoughts About These Facebook Fan Page Changes

As much as it does appear that Facebook wants businesses and marketers to create more interactions in the use of fan pages, I’m seeing a situation where Facebook is actually playing into the hands of Google considering what Google is doing with Google+ business pages.

If you’re familiar with how Google is pushing Google+ business pages using their search engine to encourage more businesses to build Google+ pages, you will readily agree that businesses and brands who desire more online visibility will definitely focus more of their marketing activities in their  Google+ business pages.

Of course, Facebook may still be banking on their big numbers and the understanding that with more interaction comes more brand awareness and therefore more business, but I do see more marketers throwing more into their Google plus pages.

Over to You:

So, what do you think about all these? Do agree with my observations or do see business and brands throwing more into their Facebook fan pages viz a viz what Google is doing? Post your views in the comments below.